Monday, January 11, 2010

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen Review

Perusing the JetPens website for pens I really don't need, I came across the Platinum Preppy line of fountain pens. I was intrigued by their low cost (only $3 each!) and the variety of colors available. Since one of my goals this year is to use a variety of pen/ink combinations in my Quo Vadis Habana journal, I figured this would be a good purchase.

(Okay, for the sake of full disclosure, I bought several pens and a bottle of Noodler's Ink, but those are stories for another post.)

My package arrived quickly and soon I was holding my new Platinum Preppy pen in hand. It is constructed of clear plastic (40% recycled materials) with a translucent green cap/clip and green stainless steel medium nib. A prominent "05" on the end of the cap identifies the medium nib. The pen is also available with a 0.3 fine point nib. It came with a single cartridge of green ink which I quickly plugged in.

The pen primed quickly and I was pleasantly surprised by the flow of the ink. I usually prefer fine and extra fine nibs but the medium nib on the preppy provided a nice, even flow without being overly-heavy. I did find that it takes a bit of pressure to provide an even flow - more so than with other inexpensive pens - but it was not difficult in finding that happy point where the ink flowed and the pen glided without scratching. The green ink was a nice surprise - just a tad less brilliant than emerald, but a very pleasing shade nonetheless. I hope you can make it out in my less than stellar Blackberry phone picture above.

The Preppy is about the same size as a Lamy Safari, though not of the same quality build. Still, it compares favorably to the Safari (one of my favorite pens), though it lacks a converter option. (UPDATE: Cheryl at Writer's Bloc informed me that a converter for the Preppy is, in fact, available. You can order one from Writer's Bloc here.) Comparing price points, though, the Preppy is a great value. I rate it above a Pilot Varsity disposable in terms of writing quality. It is similar to the Pilot Plumix in terms of price, writing quality and construction, though with more traditional lines and a clip. Perhaps someone creative could come up with a hack to make an eyedropper pen from a Preppy. Any takers?

I really can't find much to criticize about the Preppy. Sure, the clip seems kind of flimsy and it's definitely a light-weight, but again - it's only $3! I paid more for the converter for my Safari!

With seven color options and two nib choices, The Platinum Preppy is a great choice for a starter fountain pen. For that matter, with a $3 price tag and the fun color choices, it's a great economy pen for anyone who likes to write. Refills are available (2 cartridges for $1.50). A converter will run you about $6.


  1. Sam @ Future NOstalgic did a post on how to do the eyedropper hack, actually.


  2. Hi John, This is Cheryl from Writer's Bloc. Wanted to let you know that Platinum Pens does have a converter available (we have it in our shop) and also our blog (under the category fountain pens) has instructions on how to convert a Kaweco FP to eyedropper fill. The Preppy can be converted in the same way. Happy to hear you like your Preppy Pen. I like them too and own several!

  3. SirCram - Thanks for the link to Sam's hack!

    Cheryl - I appreciate the correction about the converter for the Preppy. Just shows that it's indeed a great value.

  4. I have several Preppys and they work great regardless of their really low price. I have the .3 mm version as well as the .5 mm, and I prefer the latter. The .3 mm is good for those who prefer an extra fine nib, but is a little bit scratchy compared to the .5. If one doesn't want to purchase the converter, which is about twice the cost of the pen, you can refill the excellent Platinum cartridges using a syringe. The cartridges work really well because the stainless steel ball rolls around inside and breaks the surface tension of the ink, helping it to flow better.

  5. Looks intriguing. Maybe better than the Pelikan?

  6. Yes, the stainless steel ball in the cartridge is a great idea, although the constant clicking is a bit annoying.

    Better than the Pelikan? Hmmm. I would rate the Pelikano Junior as of somewhat better quality but it costs about $12 - four times what a Preppy costs. I would say the Preppy is a better value.

  7. Very cool idea! Thanks for posting this.
    Really its amazing information about Fountain Pen Cartridges
    Awesome job !!! well done keep it up.

  8. Just wondering, does one absolutely need to use the Platinum cartridges with a Preppy? Otherwise, I may explore the eyedropper option ...

  9. A converter is available but it costs twice as much as the Preppy. I'm not aware of other cartridges that fit but you could always experiment. Certainly the eyedropper option is viable.

  10. The Platinum Preppy is the best disposable fountain pen I have tried, this pen is available in different ink colors, the stainless steel nib is colored to match the color of the ink.

    printed pens

  11. John
    I love your blog on writing, etc. I need your help with loading the cartridge into my new Preppy. It came in the mail - a blue and a green - and I opened it to see the loose cartridge. Not really knowing what to do, I just jammed the blue ink cartridge up into the top half of the pen, however, no ink is flowing. I'm afraid I've ruined it. I still have a green one but don't want to touch it until you tell me what to do next. Please advise.

  12. Cathee - worst case scenario, you may need to try another cartridge. I doubt you damaged the pen. You may simply need to prime the nib by applying slight pressure and attempting to write. If the ink starts flowing, you're good to go. If not, try removing the cartridge (this can get messy if you are not careful.)It's possible it did not seat properly. Rule of thumb, the ink cartridge should 'click' into place with firm pressure. Be sure to insert it correctly (wider end) into the nib. The tapered end of the cartridge should be in the barrel end of the pen. Hope this helps!